Creamy cannellini bean soup with jalapeño gremolata
2/3 cup dried cannellini (white kidney) beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 whole dried red chillies
2 scant tablespoons vegetable bouillon powder
1 scant teaspoon dried thyme
1 scant teaspoon dried marjoram
juice from 1 lemon
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 large jalapeño peppers, stems removed
zest from 1 lemon
Rinse the beans under cold running water and soak overnight covered in several inches of water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Discard the soaking liquid the next day and transfer the beans to a medium saucepan. Add 2 1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are soft and buttery. Remove from heat and set the beans as well as the cooking liquid aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. When hot, toss in the onion, dried red chillies, and vegetable bouillon powder. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the powder from sticking, until the onions have softened. Add 2 1/2 cups of water, as well as the beans and reserved cooking liquid, thyme and marjoram. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes to let the flavours mingle. Remove from heat and purée in a blender or with a hand blender. Stir in the lemon juice and add salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (be careful with the salt — many bouillon powders are already very salty, and you may not want any additional salt).
To make the gremolata, put the jalapeños into a food processor and process until well chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the lemon zest.
Serve the soup in bowls with a generous spoonful of gremolata scattered on top. Serves 4 to 6.
Creamy Cannellini Bean Soup with Jalapeño Gremolata
White bean soups are most thought of as winter staples, but a bouquet of fresh garden jalapeños and lemon zest burst out of this cannellini bean soup like a blast of summer sunshine. Quick, simple, and delicious at any time of year.